We recently adopted our 15 month old daughter in China, Sue Mai, and she's wonderful.
But I thought, one month later, that you all might want to know what we thought of the food situation over there.
Our travel was group orientated, so much of it involved being in group tours, group gatherings, and such, so independent travelers to China may find this post boring. We spent all of our time in the cities of Beijing, Nanching, and Guangou. For the rest of you, here is what we think you ought to know before you go to China.
1.) The water will make you sick. Always drink and use bottled water. It doesn't matter how fancy the hotel is.
2.) You can buy the fruit in the street, but only if you can peel it yourself.
3.) The service in restaurants (at least in our group) was way WAY better than anything you'll find in Europe or the U.S. (It might have helped that our group all had babies, though.)
4.) There are "western" food places and there are "eastern" food places, sometimes both are in the same restaurant. You will know instantly. Food in "Eastern" places consist of animals that Americans don't think in terms of food.
5.) Chinese people don't smoke as much as we thought they did during eating, but they do spit.
6.) Turn your head if someone from China starts blowing his or her nose at the dinner table.
7.) Chinese business lunches are screaming matches.
8.) The rice is very sticky in China - but that makes it chopstick friendly.
9.) Never be afraid to ask for a fork. Look, you're not Chinese, it's OK!! You'll get a fork instantly.
10.) The food is bleepin' good - but if you hate Chinese food, you're definitely in the wrong country.
11.) The Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut restaurants are surprisingly fancy.
12.) Food, water, drink and textiles in China are absurdly cheap.
13.) Always be absolutely and constantly sure where your money belt or wallet is in a restaurant.
14.) The noodles ("spaghetti") in China are better than the spaghetti in Italy.
15.) The Chinese are almost desperate to try English out on you. Good thing...the Mandarin from city to city can be completely different. (In Guangou, they speak Cantonese!) Don't be afraid to ask for food in English, they just might understand you.
16.) Beer in China is surprisingly good. But remember, no ice!!
17.) Did I mention, NO ICE?
18.) Be careful with the soupspoons, they are not plastic and will break.
19.) The tea in China can be absolutely terrific.
20.) The rich western places are very good indeed. The little tea and coffee houses can be rather scary - although some apparently are terrific. Communism? Forget it, China is just like everywhere else with rich, poor - and extremely poor (something that doesn't exist in the U.S.)